02/03/2014 07:28 EST | Updated 04/05/2014 05:59 EDT

Diabetic runner launches 9-month journey across Canada

A crowd of runners in St. John's joined a Quebec man on Sunday as he launched a cross-Canada campaign to raise awareness of diabetes, and what people living with the disease can accomplish.

"There is a lot of love and support and a very good vibe so I could not be more pleased," said Sebastien Sasseville, 34, as he prepared to start a run from Signal Hill with about 25 supporters. 

Sasseville has not let having Type 1 diabetes hold him back from pursuing other dreams. He has already climbed Mount Everest and last year ran across the Sahara Desert.

Sasseville hopes to be the first person with diabetes to finish a cross-country run, as well as to offer hope for others.

"[I want] to inspire. The goal is to have an impact and help people change their lives and show that with dedication, people with diabetes can climb Everest, can do anything they put their mind to," he told CBC News.

Sasseville is using a state-of-the-art insulin pump called the Animas Vibe to control his diabetes.

"It makes it so much easier, safe and gives me a ton of flexibility so that I can exercise and manage my blood and diabetes well and achieve whatever I set my mind to," he said.

It started snowing as Sasseville set out on Sunday afternoon, although he said he is prepared for tough weather as he moves through his journey.

"I think the real challenge is going to start as soon as [Monday] when I'm going to be out there running by myself," he said.

Sasseville intends to finish his run in Vancouver, in time for World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14.